Friday, August 12, 2016

The Most Courageous Decision Is . . .

I don't know about all cultures, but in our Western culture, courage is highly revered.  It's the stuff heroes are made of.  We tend to think courage is a lack of fear and our heroes must be impervious to self-doubt, but it's not true.  Quite the opposite. Courage is choosing to step in the right direction, despite the fear you feel.  And guess what?  You don't have to be a hero to choose the courageous path.  In the last couple months, I've had some conversations with three different friends who have made or are in the process of making courageous decisions. Although I'm thinking about three separate men, who made three separate decisions, they all had to face the same truth and embrace the same statement about themselves. "I'm not the guy for the job."

In the case of my three friends, they all felt like they were no longer the guy for the job that God had clearly called them to. Can you imagine this?  How do you reconcile a perceived God-given calling and then have the courage to walk away?  Two of my friends were pastors and one pulled his name out of the running for a job he wanted very much at a company he wants to work for. Why?  Because they knew what we all know, from time to time.  I'm not the guy (or girl) for the job.  

You've felt it.  We've all felt it.  The problem is that not all of us have the courage to face it and it's implications.  I know this because I once had to face such a reality and the implications that went with it.  Once upon a time, I was a church planter.  I left a steady and stable life in Pennsylvania to start the next world-changing mega-church in Oklahoma.  It was a move full of unknowns and risks.  There was no doubt that it was a God-given calling. But, what I learned is that not all God-given callings are destined to finish the way I think they might.  Below is an excerpt from a book manuscript I'm working on.  It chronicles an experience I had in a coaching group I was part of.  This was the moment I realized and then faced the fact that "I was not the guy."

~ We broke for lunch and afterward did some work on our own.  We took the work from our timelines and needed to break all that information down to one or two key learnings that we would take away from that day.  Of course, all of the learnings carried implications.  This was a difficult truth to begin facing.  As we came back together that afternoon, we shared some of our takeaways from the whole timeline exercise.  What had we learned?  And a better question yet, what would that mean to our future?  When it was my turn, I was terrified.  I knew what I needed to say.  What I didn’t know was how would these guys around the table react.  “As all of you guys would agree with, for any church or organization to function up to it’s potential, we all have to have the right people on the bus and have those people in the right seats.” I said.  Everyone around the table nodded. “It has come to my attention today that I’ve got someone on my team who is in a very wrong seat and that person being in the wrong seat is literally killing our church and killing that person.”  The room was silent and every eye was on me as I finished my revelation to the group.  “It seems that person who is in the wrong seat is me.”, I said through a few tears.  It was a hard realization and even harder to share out loud.  After a few seconds of silence, every guy in the room affirmed what I was saying.  Maybe they all knew I wasn’t cut out for the lead pastor role.  Maybe they were just being supportive to their friend.  No matter the motivation, it felt good to know they were there to walk whatever journey may ensue with me.  ~

Perhaps God had other plans for those things He called me to?  Perhaps He has other plans for the things He's called you to?  We'll never know, unless we gather the courage to make that hard statement.  I'm not the guy.  I'm not the girl. I'm not the one to take this any further. 

Being years on the other side of the fence, I can tell you the things that follow.  Pain.  Struggle.  Healing.  Growth.  New opportunities.  A total reinvention of yourself.  If you're in the place of knowing you're not the one, I want to encourage you to do three things today.  

1)  Find someone who can coach you through this process.
2)  Take courage and face it.  
3)  Refuse to get bitter and embrace the new.

You may think you're avoiding pain by side-stepping the hard decision, but you're really just robbing yourself of all the possibilities on the other side.  So maybe you do have to be a hero to face this courageous path.  Or, maybe choosing the courageous path is what makes a hero.  Be that hero.  You can do it.

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